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Late Rally Earns Baseball Team A Split Of Ivy-Opening Doubleheader Against Yale
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Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
Release: 03/28/2009
A seven-run eighth inning for the Princeton baseball team salvaged a split of the Ivy League-opening doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Clarke Field. Yale picked up the opener 6-0 with a near perfect game, but the Tigers used a key double by Brian Berkowitz during a late rally to record a 9-3 win in the second game.

GAME ONE

The first game belonged to pitcher Vinny Lally and third baseman Andy Megee, who combined to send Princeton to a 6-0 loss in the Ivy League opener for both teams.

Lally was almost flawless in his fourth start of the season for Yale. By changing speeds effectively and staying in the strike zone, Lally stayed ahead of the Princeton hitters all day. He got the leadoff hitter out in every inning and was perfect through 6.1 of the seven-inning game, but Dan DeGeorge laced a double to the centerfield fence to break up the bid for perfection.

Lally got more than enough run support from Megee, who went 4-for-4 in the opener with one run and five RBIs. He started causing trouble for the home team in the first inning; following a one-out walk to Stefan Schropp, Megee laced a line drive to deep right field. Sam Mulroy made a diving attempt for the ball, but the ball popped out of his glove for a run-scoring triple.

Two innings later, Gant reached first on a deep single to shortstop and scored on a bang-bang play at the plate when Megee lined a double down the third base line. An RBI single in the fifth and a two-RBI double in the seventh, which broke open a 3-0 lead and allowed Lally to go into his final inning with an eventual 6-0 lead, added to Megee’s impressive Ivy League opener.

Princeton starter David Hale went the distance, allowing nine hits and six earned runs while striking out nine and walking three.

GAME TWO

Yale opened the scoring in the second game with help from a little wildness from Tiger starter Brad Gemberling. Charlie Neil opened the inning by singling to centerfield and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He made to third on a wild pitch and scored on a second wild pitch, although Gemberling would get the next two batters out to keep it a 1-0 game.

Yale’s Matt Schmidt opened the third inning with a double and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice by Elmore and error by third baseman Matt Connor.  Elmore would be taken out on the next play when Princeton turned a double play, but Schmidt scored on the play to make it 2-0.

A home run by Chris Sweeney, whose deep drive to right field caught a little help from the wind, gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth, but the Princeton offense finally began to chip away in the bottom of the inning. A perfect bunt single by Derek Buckman and a one-out double by Van Horn chased Joe Castaldi from the game and brought in righthanded submariner Robert Gruber.

Jack Murphy drove in the first run by pushing a ground ball past Gruber and deep into the hole, where second baseman Elmore was able to knock it down but could not get the out. With two outs in the inning, Brian Berkowitz singled in the second run on another deep grounder that Elmore stopped but could do nothing with.

That sent Princeton into the decisive, and ultimately exciting, eighth inning with a 3-2 deficit. Thirteen Princeton hitters and four Yale pitchers later, the Tigers were looking at a split in the league opener.

Van Horn opened with a single to the shortstop and advanced to second on an errant throw. He scored on a Murphy single to centerfield, which tied the score and chased Gruber for fellow submarine pitcher Eric Schultz. A Hale single set up the biggest at-bat of the game; Berkowitz launched a double to centerfield that scored both runners and gave Princeton its first lead of the game.

A catcher’s interference call and a single by Jon Broscious loaded the bases with no outs. A force-out at the plate gave Yale the chance to get out the inning with a double play, but it wasn’t to be. A sacrifice fly by Beckman gave Princeton a 6-3 lead, and a deep double by DeGeorge gave the Tigers some insurance against a stunned Yale squad. Van Horn’s RBI double finished the production, as Princeton scored seven runs in the inning and allowed Gemberling to finish his complete game for his third win of the season. The Princeton senior struck out 10 batters and allowed only seven hits in two walks over nine innings to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Weather permitting, Princeton will take on Brown in an Ivy League doubleheader Sunday at noon.

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